FOLLOW UP: Voter ID: Congress Promises Action

Two weeks ago, Project Vote posted advance information about a study done for the Election Assistance Commission indicating that voter ID requirements suppress voter turnout, especially among voters likely to be marginalized in the first place: African-Americans and Latinos in particular.

Last Thursday, Feb 22, Michael Roston at the Raw Story reported that the chairperson of a Congressional subcommittee with oversight on elections for House seats has promised to study the problem. More after the flip...

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Beyond the Voting Machine: Stealth Barriers to Voter Participation

By Michael Slater and Nathan Henderson-James

There has been a tremendous amount of time and attention paid to issue of electronic voting machines and their negative impact on the transparency and integrity of elections in the United States, and rightly so. In fact, this intense focus by organizations and advocates concerned with voter participation and the specter of stolen elections has led to substantial movement on this issue in Congress and the Statehouse. Recently New Mexico dumped their Direct Recording-Electronic (DRE) machines for optical scans last year and Florida is talking about doing the same thing this year. Other states and the Congress are moving to set touch standards for DRE, including mandatory audits and paper trails.

However, the actual system for enfranchisement of eligible voters is complex and contains many aspects that are much less transparent than even the rather abstruse world of electronic voting. Maintenance and list matching regulations for the voter files are an example of this. Therefore, progressives and voting rights advocates shouldn't feel like we've solved potential election problems through these reforms; many problems still exist within the system with potential to disenfranchise tens of thousands of legally eligible voters.

A close examination of the process by which people become registered voters, by which they cast their ballots, and by which their ballots are counted, indicate that the potential for disenfranchisement occurs at practically every step.

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Voter ID Requirements Suppress Progressive Voter Turnout

In closely contested elections, turnout is everything. New research shows that voter ID requirements negatively effect turnout, and, for minority voters, by large percentages. This data is especially troubling to progressive voters since minorities are a critical part of any progressive coalition. Given the fact that voter fraud, the rationale for voter ID requirements, is isolated and infrequent, the adoption of voter ID requirements by states should be recognized for what it is: a deliberate strategy to deny minority voters access to the ballot box and suppress voter turnout.

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